big bend national park
Pulling into Big Bend National Park, I wondered why it took me so long to get out here. For one, the Chisos wins the award for funniest Mountain range name. Second, it is an incredibly beautiful place in all its rugged, Chihuahuan desert glory. Big Bend National Park has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. When sitting in traffic on I-35, it's quite difficult to imagine that there is a 801,163 acre playground in the same state, albeit 8 hours away. However, situated in the literal bend of Texas, this park is its own sanctuary.
Since it was Spring Break, camping spots flew off the shelves. We ended up waiting in the Camping Permit office staring at a screen as the Chisos Basin spots flickered away. Sitting across from the Park Ranger, Grant pointed at different parts of the basin inquiring about zone camping. We looked at each other discouraged and wide-eyed as the Park Ranger responded that "Nature was full". We joke about this now, but seriously how can 801,163 acres be full??? Anyways, the Ranger kindly arranged for us to zone camp in the desert west of the mountains (35 min drive from the basin).
My goodness, what I treat it was to camp in the desert though! We walked off the road about 1 mile and then pitched camp near Kit Mountain. We had domain of our own desert and it was magical. We cooked pasta, drank wine and around midnight, we watched a big, bright moon peak through the Mountains. In many ways, we discovered our own "Moonrise Kingdom".
Determined to beat the Spring Break rush this time, we woke early the next day. Let me rephrase that: Grant woke up very early before the sunrise. I woke up early to hot oatmeal and coffee (H E A R T E Y E S). We drove to the Chisos Basin with cool morning air rushing through our rolled down windows while the sun painted the sky. The day's task was to hike the 12 mile Chisos Basin loop with lunch (complete with Texas shaped quesadillas) at the South Rim. Though it was utterly exhausting, our ambitious hike was incredible as pictured (not pictured: my awful blisters). Our day concluded with plenty of fried food and Grant running back to the car to get my ID so that I could have a beer at the Chisos Basin Lodge (again H E A R T E Y E S). All and all, I left Big Bend with a whole new understanding of the magnitude of the great state I call home. I can not wait to get back out here again.
Hiked: South Rim 12 mile loop and Window Trail
Camped: Backcountry Zone Camping in the West desert near Kit Mountain (not sure of trail name).